Effects of Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta) on the Species Structure of Ant Communities in South China


  • Yong Yue Lu South China Agricultural University
  • Bi-qiu Wu South China Agricultural University
  • Yi-Juan Xu South China Agricultural University
  • Ling Zeng South China Agricultural University




Solenopsis invicta Buren, ant species, community structure


We evaluated the effects of invasive red imported fire ants (RIFAs), Solenopsis invicta Buren, on native ant communities at three habitats in South China. By using paired control and treatment plots, the change in diversity and community structure of native ants due to the invasion of red imported fire ants could be observed. Ant species richness was reduced by 46 and 33% at RIFA-infested lawn and pasture habitats, respectively; however, the ant species richness in the lichee orchard was not affected by red imported fire ants. Our results indicated that red imported fire ants became one of several dominant species or the only dominant species in all three habitats in South China.


Download data is not yet available.


Buren, W.F. 1972. Revisionary studies on the taxonomy of the imported fire ants. J. Georgia Entomol. Soc. 7: 1-27.

Callcott, A.M.A. & H.L. Collins 1996. Invasion and range expansion of imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in North America from 1918–1995. Florida Entomologist 79:240–251.

Camilo, G. R. & S.A. Phillips Jr 1990. Evolution of ant communities in response to invasion by the Tre ant Solenopsis invicta, pp. 190-198. In R. K. Vander Meer, K. Jaffe and A. Cedeno [eds.], Applied myrmecology: a world perspective. Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

Cook, J.L. 2003. Conservation of biodiversity in an area impacted by the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Biodiversity Conserv. 12: 187-195.

Diffie, S. & M.H. Bass 1994. Densities of monogynous red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) colonies in Georgia pastures. J. Entomol. Sci. 29: 367-369.

Gotelli, N. J. & A.E. Arnett 2000. Biogeographic effects of red fire ant invasion. Ecology Lett. 3: 257-261.

Greenslade, P.J.M. 1973. Sampling ants with pitfall traps: digging-in effects. Insect. Soc. 20: 343-353.

He, X.F., Y.Y. Lu, W.Q. Zhang & L. Zeng 2006. Three haplotypes found in introduced populations of red imported fire ant invading China. Acta Entomologia Sinica 49(6):1046 -1049.

Henshaw, M.T., N. Kunzmann, C.Vanderwoude, M. Sanetra & R.H. Crozier 2005. Population genetics and history of the introduced fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in Australia. Australian Journal of Entomology 44(1):37-44

Heyer, W.R., M.A. Donnelly, R.W. McDiarmid, L.C. Hayek & M.S. Foster 1994. Inventory and Monitoring. Pp. 117. In Measuring and monitoring biological diversity: standard methods for amphibians. M. S. Foster, editor. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington. USA.

Hoffmann, B.D. & S. O’Connor 2004. Eradication of two exotic ants from Kakadu National Park. Ecological Management & Restoration, 5(2):98-105

Jusino-Atresino, R.& S.A.J. Phillips 1994. Impact of red imported fire ants on the ant fauna ocentral Texas. Pp. 259-268. in Exotic Ants: Biology, Impact, and Control of Introduced Species. DF Williams, editor. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.

Kaspari, M. 2000. Do imported fire ants impact canopy arthropods? Evidence from simple arboreal pitfall traps. Southwest. Nat. 45: 118-122.

Korzukhin, M.D., S.D. Porter, L.C. Thompson & S.Wiley 2001. Modeling temperaturedependent range limits for the fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States. Environ. Entomol. 30: 645-655.

Li, N.D., Y.Y. Lu, L. Zeng, G.W. Liang & Y.J. Xu 2006. Study on Types of Environment, Spatial Ditribution and Sampling of Red Imported Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta Buren Active Mounds in Wuchuan,Guangdong Province. Journal of Huazhong Agricultural University, 25(1): 31-35.

Lowe, S., M. Browne, S. Boudjelas & M. De Poorter 2004. 100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species: a selection from the global invasive species database. The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISS G), pp. 12.

Ma, K.P. & Y.Q. Qian 1994. The Theory and Method of Research of Biodiversity. 1994. Beijing: China Science and Technology Press.

Morris, J. R. & K.L. Steigman 1993. Effects of polygyne fire ant invasion on native ants of a blackland prairie in Texas. Southwest. Nat. 38: 136-140.

Morrison, L.W. & S.D. Porter 2003. Positive association between densities of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (hymenoptera: formicidae), and generalized ant and arthropod diversity. environ. entomol. 32(3): 548-554

Morrison, L.W., S.D. Porter, E. Daniels & M.D. Korzukhin 2004. Potential global range expansion of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Biol. Invasions 6: 183-191.

Morrison, L.W. 2002. Long-term impacts of an arthropod-community invasion by the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Ecology 83:2337-2345.

Nattrass, R. & C. Vanderwoude 2001. A preliminary investigation of the ecological effects of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) in Brisbane. Ecol. Manage. and Restoration 2:220–223.

Porter, S.D. & D.A. Savignano 1990.nvasion of polygyne fire ants decimates native ants and disrupts arthropod community. Ecology, (71): 2095-2106

Porter, S.D., B. Van Eimeren & L.E. Gilbert 1988: Invasion of red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): microgeography of competitive replacement. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 81: 913–918.

Stein, M.B. & H.G. Thorvilson 1989. Ant species sympatric with the red imported fire ant in southeastern Texas. Southwest. Entomol. 14: 225-231.

Stoker, R.L., W.E. Grant & S.B. Vinson. 1995. Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) effect on invertebrate decomposers of carrion in central Texas. Environ. Entomol. 24: 817-822.

Summerlin, J.W., H.D. Petersen & R L. Harris. 1984. Red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): effects on the horn fly (Diptera: Muscidae) and coprophagous scarabs. Environ. Entomol. 13: 1405-1410.

Tang, J., C. Li & E.Y. Huan.1995. Economic Insect Fauna of China: Hymenoptera: Fornicidae (1). Beijing: Science Press

Vinson, S.B. & A.A.Sorensen 1986. Imported fire ants: life history and impact. Texas Department of Agriculture, Austin, TX. Pp. 28.

Vinson, S.B. 1994. Impact of the invasion of Solenopsis invicta (Buren) on native food webs. Pp. 240-258 in D. Williams, editor. Exotic Ants: Biology, Impact, and Control of Introduced Species. Westview Press. Boulder, Colorado

Vinson, S.B. 1997. The invasion of the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): spread, biology, and impact. Amer. Entomol. 43(1): 23-39.

Vinson, S.B. 1991. Effect of the red imported Tre ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on a small plant-decomposing arthropod community. Environ. Entomol. 20: 98-103.

Wojcik, D.P. 1994. Impact of the red imported fire ant on native ant species in Florida. Pp. 269-281. in D. Williams, editor. Exotic Ants: Biology, Impact, and Control of Introduced Species. Westview Press. Boulder, Colorado.

Wu, J. & C.L. Wang 1995. The Ants of China. Beijing: China Forestry Press

Xue, D.Y., H.M. Li, H.X. Han & R.Z. Zhang 2005. A prediction of potential distribution area of Solenopsis invicta in China. Chinese Bulletin of Entomology, 42(1):57-60.

Zeng, L., Y.Y. Lu & Z.N. Chen 2005. Management and surveillance of red imported fire ant. Guangdong Science & Technique Press, Guangzhou, China, 106pp.

Zeng, L., Y.Y. Lu, X.F. He, W.Q. Zhang & G.W. Liang 2005. Identification of red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta to invade mainland China and infestation in Wuchuan,Guangdong. Chinese Bulletin of Entomology, 42: 144-148.

Zhang, R.Z., I.C. Li, N. Liu & S.D. Porter 2007. An overview of the red imported fire ant (hymenoptera: formicidae) in mainland china. Florida Entomologist,90(4):723-731

Zhao, Z.M. & Y.Q. Guo 1990. The Theory and Method of Community Ecology. Chongqing: Science, Technology and Literature Press

Zhou, S.Y. 2001. The Ants of Guangxi. Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press




How to Cite

Lu, Y. Y., Wu, B.- qiu, Xu, Y.-J., & Zeng, L. (2014). Effects of Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta) on the Species Structure of Ant Communities in South China. Sociobiology, 59(1), 275–285. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v59i1.683




Most read articles by the same author(s)